Tarik Cyril Amar – The New Old Germany

History’s Monster is Back: Ugly, Mean, Yet Also Ludicrous

Tarik Cyril Amar (@TarikCyrilAmar) is a historian from Germany, currently at Koç University, Istanbul, expert on Ukraine, Russia, and Europe, and the author of “The Paradox of Ukrainian Lviv. A Borderland City between Stalinists, Nazis, and Nationalists.”

Cross-posted from Tarik Cyril Amar’s substack

As a result of the end of the Cold War and the terminal decline of the Soviet Union, Germany was reunited in 1990, events I remember well. Since then, the question has been what role this new-old country will play. A third of a century later, we can say that the answer is profoundly depressing. A historian of the Soviet Union, I have never been one for Soviet nostalgia. While officially based on a profoundly humanist ideology, namely Socialism, both the Soviet Union and its former East German client regime were authoritarian states that failed to live up to their promises of emancipation and even equality.

And yet, as a German, seeing what has become of the new, post-Cold War and also post-Soviet Germany, I, for the first time, feel that it is unambiguously clear now that it would have been better for humanity if the Soviet Union had persisted, if only to prevent the emergence of the monster that has made its lair in Berlin now.

I admit that it has taken me a long time to reach this degree of clarity. For me, the treatment meted out to Greece by the EU under German leadership between 2009 and 2015 marked one important stage on my personal learning curve. Not only was the Greek government publicly cajoled and democracy explicitly trampled underfoot in the name of austerity. There also was the revolting spectacle of groupthink, a lazy unanimity in the German public sphere and among elites. It was all the rage to deride Greece in stereotyped, essentially colonialist and racist terms as a country of spongers, cheats, and wastrels, in need of a hard hand from the properly Euro-white North.

Of course, this was the flip side of a national ego-trip, hallucinating Germany itself as a gold standard of uprightness and efficiency. Perish the thought that Ursula von der Leyen, that blonde uber-German authoritarian megalomaniac pocket Valkyrie foisted on the very top of the EU, is at the center of a pharma corruption scandal of historic dimensions; or that when Germany built itself a swanky new airport for its new old capital Berlin, the result was a saga of staggering incompetence and Herculean – or rather Siegfriedean – cost overruns. Indeed, it was such a perfect, Germanically thorough clusterfuck that it now serves as a textbook case of project mis-planning.

Omitting comparatively (!) minor failures, my next major milestone of coming to face the full extent of the new German benightedness was the country’s behavior during the USA’s proxy war against Russia by means of Ukraine. We will never know if Germany could have made a difference, but we do know that it did its very best not to even try. Whereas Berlin had relished playing leader of the pack, when most of the EU gleefully mauled Greece (or kept quiet), the new Germany displayed almost touching meekness while its American overlords drove Europe and the world to the edge of World War III and Ukraine, of course, into an abyss of blood and destruction. For precisely nothing – except Washington’s agenda to bleed and weaken Russia. And that, of course, even on its own cynical terms, worked just as brilliantly as the old Germans drive to take down the “colossus on clay feet in 1941”…

None, this time, of that refractoriness displayed in 2003 during the run-up to the West’s criminal war of aggression and devastation against Iraq. This time, Berlin stood ready in truly Teutonic “Nibelungentreue” to follow Washington orders come what may. Biden befiehl, wir folgen Dir!

And then it did, bombastically declaring a “Zeitenwende” (an epochal shift), becoming one of the main suppliers of the proxy war, and joining the Orwellian absurdity of blaming Russia, even when it was obvious that it was the West and Ukraine who had – in an act of war that also served as the greatest eco-terrorist attack in European history – blown up a vital piece of German and EU energy infrastructure, the Nord Stream pipeline (which was inactive anyhow). Once again, German submissiveness reached that historic level where obvious, glaring lies are believed with fervor just to show off how obedient we can be.

You would have thought that that was a hard act to follow. But the new Germany is on a roll! Which brings us to the present: Berlin’s pro-active siding with the genocide that Israel is currently committing against the Palestinians. I have explained, to the best of my abilities, why the assault of Gaza is not even “merely” genocidal, but quite special in its violence and the purchase and power of the lies spread to shield it. But my modest efforts pale by comparison with all the work done by scholars and experts such as Craig Mokhiber, Raz Segal, John Mearsheimer, Norman Finkelstein, and others; or by dedicated collectives of deeply informed investigative journalists, such as The Electronic Intifada; or, last but not least, by the outstanding jurists and researchers who have built and presented South Africa’s case at the United Nations’ International Court of Justice in The Hague. And that is only a very small sample of what is out there (with my apologies to everyone not mentioned).

It would take an obstinate, ignorant idiot or a brutally, bottomlessly cynical hypocrite to dismiss this constantly rising wave of evidence of Israel’s crime. Or, that is, the German government.

In response to South Africa bringing the case every state in the world had a duty to bring, Berlin bestirred itself mightily. The government’s spokesperson, Steffen Hebestreit, secured for himself a modest and thoroughly shameful place in future history books by announcing that Germany would enter the fray at The Hague: “The German government,” he intoned, “firmly and explicitly rejects the accusation of genocide that has now been made against Israel before the International Court of Justice” as having “no basis whatsoever.”

At the same time, Germany’s unfortunately influential and mysteriously popular minister of the economy and vice chancellor Robert Habeck also felt the urge to contribute. In his trademark style, combining a secular form of unctuous sermonizing with an embarrassingly cheap (and embarrassingly well-received) performance of what Germans call “Nachdenklichkeit” (Yes, German has a special word for obtrusively signaling that you are pretending to use your brain while speaking), he emitted his profound insight, founded on nothing: One can (note the generosity!) criticize the Israeli army (not that anyone gets ideas about criticizing Israel as a whole! Or Zionism!) for “proceeding too harshly,” but one must not speak of genocide.

To make such a statement in that manner, apodictic, as if stating an incontrovertible fact, at this point betrays either enormous arrogance or abysmal ignorance. My guess, in this case it is both – plus one more thing we will return to. You may have expected Habeck to engage with the extremely well-documented evidence for the occurrence of precisely genocide and, at least, signal some awareness, of just how far his opinion diverges from that of many authoritative experts. But that’s not how he works. Instead of any arguments – even ever so weak or motivated ones – he delivered pure, unadulterated deflection.

IF anyone, he pronounced, would commit a genocide, then that would be – you guessed it – HAMAS! In the real world, Hamas and its allies are, of course, actually, the only force inside Gaza fighting against the Israeli genocide. It takes special stupidity and/or presumption to first defend the Israeli genocide perpetrators by denying the genocide and then accuse of that same crime the only force standing between those perpetrators and their Palestinian victims.

You may think that would exhaust the perversion of Habeck’s sorry excuse for a mind. Yet, wrong again. His next move can only fascinate psychologists. Those charging Israel with genocide, he declared, are inverting the “perpetrator-victim” relationship – which is, of course, literally, what he was just in the process of doing. Fascinating.

We could cite one example of this new German abjectness after another – and we’d never reach an end, because so many Germans are so eager – remember, they love working hard once they find an unworthy cause – to add more, every day, every hour. So, I’ll stop here. What remains is the question why this is all happening. I have written about that elsewhere. I won’t bore my readers with repeating myself. But I want to add something. And that something is also the one more thing I promised we would return to, the third factor, in addition to enormous arrogance or abysmal ignorance: Cowardice.

Germany is once again run by and full of all too many cowards. I know there are many other Germans, too. Yes, I claim to be one of them. But what a shame that, once again, we have to hold on to the “other Germans” to have any hope for that self-benighted place at all.

As a German, I wish to be on record, that Germany’s government and most of its “elites” do not speak for me. I consider them, in good German Feiglinge and Dreckskerle. They have my most profound, heartfelt Verachtung.

Denk ich an Deutschland, und nicht nur in der Nacht, bin ich zum Speien gebracht.

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1 Comment

  1. Bizarrely, Germany would only approve immigration to Germany by Jews if they are fluent in German, see https://www.bamf.de/EN/Themen/MigrationAufenthalt/JuedischeZuwanderer/juedischezuwanderer-node.html.

    It seems that there is quite a lot of Antisemitism in Germany, and perhaps their frantic support of Israel is because of this: if the Jews live in Israel they wouldn’t be along in Germany.

    One should remember that the Nazis first tried to ship all Jews to Madagascar, and resorted to genocide only when this showed itself to be too unpractical.

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